THE organisers of a Wangaratta ice forum hope it will be a step towards a new drug treatment centre in the North East.
About 150 people attended last night’s forum, including representatives of the police, Gateway Health, Anglicare Wang- aratta, the Australian Community Support Org-anisation and hospital emergency staff.
John Bailey, who helped organise the event through the Rotary Club of Wangaratta, said a whole-of-community approach was required to deal with methamphetamine abuse.
“We need to get our agencies together so we have a unified community approach to deal with this issue,” he said.
“It’s a really important issue.
“With community support, we can win this battle.”
Mr Bailey said a new treatment centre was vital to bolster support.
Michael Miller, of Family Drug Support, said the group was waiting to see where state government funding to tackle ice would be spent.
“There’s more funding going towards treatment,” he said.
“Is it enough? — No.
“But it’s a first step and, hopefully, we’ll see a lot more happening.”
Mr Miller said while ice abuse could partly be attributed to declining heroin use, the party scene was also to blame.
“It really fits in with the party culture that we have through all of Aust-ralia,” he said.
“We saw that on Sunday night with the Australian cricket team winning.
“There were that many comments made by commentators and cricketers about how many drinks they were going to have.
“We’ve really got to change our culture around drugs and alcohol.”